How Did I Let This Happen?

In July 2015, I had to get my driver’s license renewed. That meant the dreaded trip to the DMV, waiting for what seems an eternity and taking the photo that always looks like a mug shot.  No one enjoys this experience. Except for me.   You see, in 2010 I had my hair chemically straightened (I know, crazy, right).  It was the worst mistake of my life!  And it was immortalized in my license photo.  So for 5 years I had to suffer with that picture being what every airport worker, bar bouncer, retail worker and cop (yes, in 5 years I did get pulled over for speeding) saw.   I had waited for this moment for so long, to change back to the real me, with my unruly curly dark brown locks. And the time had finally come.  But that’s not even the best part!  The best part is as I was looking at my old license before turning it in, I noticed that my weight was listed as 160 lbs.  I am sure that was somewhat accurate in 2010.  But in the 5 years since, I had done my usual gain, gain, lose, gain, gain, lose routine.  On this day in July, as I sat down to say cheese, my smile was genuine because I was actually going to be the weight listed on my driver’s license.  It was such a happy moment.  I couldn’t stop smiling….at the DMV…which led to some odd looks from the rest of the miserable bastards waiting their turn.  Sadly, that is where the good times ended.

I can’t exactly say when it all started going downhill or why.  At the beginning it was gradual.  One bad meal here, one missed walk there.  Next thing you know, as it always does, it snowballs into always making the unhealthy food choices and making every excuse in the world not to workout.  No one can justify laziness like I can!  If there was an Olympic event for that, I would win gold.  Hell, they may even add a platinum award just for me.  I’m that good at it.

Sugar How Sweet it isThe food is probably where I fell the fastest.  I eat out a lot, I mean A LOT, usually using the excuse that it is hard to cook for one.  I travel for work so I eat all my lunches out.  Even when I am in the office I go out with coworkers because it is fun and I love my coworkers.  Dinner time is more of a convenience excuse, “I’ll just pick up something on the way home.”  Or there is a function or social event I have to go to.  If given a menu, how am I supposed to choose the healthy option when the menu is full of delicious fried foods, appetizers, sauces, carbs, dressings and of course, desserts? Don’t get me wrong, I love healthy food- chicken, fish, vegetables, yogurt and cheese.  But given the options, I don’t choose well.  I have absolutely no will power or self-control.  This is painfully clear whenever I am put in a situation with a buffet or a party where the food is always sitting out.  I just graze like the cow I let myself become.  On occasion I will get a stroke of consciousness and decide to get healthy foods from the grocery store.  I am a once a week shopper.  So when the next week rolls around and most of the food I purchased isn’t good anymore, I get more upset with myself, throw it out and calculate in my head how much money I have wasted.  But that doesn’t stop me from turning around and doing the same thing again the next week.Carbs Hello Lover

Eventually my bad habits became the norm and I added new self-sabotaging behavior to the mix.  I start eating more and more, making sure I have something sweet and something salty on hand at all times.  And I don’t mean fruit and olives.  I mean chips and chocolate! I’d have breakfast and make it through to lunch without more food, just a cup of coffee at work. But then I am starving at lunchtime and eat until I am absolutely miserable. I followed that with an unhealthy snack in the afternoon and an insensible dinner.  When I ate dinner at home, I would have whatever was planned for dinner and then think I needed something salty (chips).  Well after salty, I craved sweet (chocolate).  By the end of the night I had eaten enough for at least 2 people and nothing healthy.  When you start that cycle, you eventually get to the point where you never actually feel full.  I could literally eat all day and not think twice about it.

Fat CatFrom a physical appearance standpoint, you also find ways of making excuses. You know you are gaining weight.  But you start telling yourself, “Well that still fits so I’m doing okay.”  One day it doesn’t fit.  Then you break out the elastic or baggy clothes that are the same size to convince yourself everything is still okay.  When those get too small, you move up in size but look at yourself in the mirror and think “I don’t look that different.”  Next thing you know, even your fat clothes don’t fit and you’ve outgrown the largest sizes you have.  That is a swift slap in the face.  Yet, not enough to change my behavior.  Instead I just go shopping at Gabe’s so I don’t have to spend a lot on my new “must have” wardrobe because nothing else fits. Now when you look at yourself in the mirror the things you see are repulsive- more than one chin, a thicker neck than a defensive tackle, side boob everywhere, two additional rolls of fat before you get to the primary stomach roll, a FUPA (look it up if you don’t know what it is) that you didn’t have before, the strong muscular legs you prided yourself on aren’t as sculpted.  The sight makes you sick.  Yet, still not enough to change your behavior.

Simple activities are harder- shaving your legs, walking up steps.  Breathing is harder because of the extra weight. Your body has aches and pains you can’t explain.  You sit for too long and it takes you a few steps to stand upright and walk straight when you get up.  Yet, still not enough.

I don’t think there was one specific thing that flipped that switch to make a change.  I guess I finally got to the point where I said I am ready to help myself!  It took too long to get here.  But I am grateful that I finally made it.  Now the transformation can begin.

Read next week’s blog when I talk about taking the first step.

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4 Responses to How Did I Let This Happen?

  1. Ann says:

    Oh, Christa, I am HERE with you! Right now!! The heaviest I’ve ever been, and that’s saying something for a gal with a 20-year history of gain-gain-lose, just like you. You are so right, how can you pick the “boring” healthy food when menus are full of exciting things to try! I wish I knew how the slide from “occasional treat” to “chips and chocolate with every meal” really happened for me, or more importantly, how to eat things in moderation (I think this issue is one in the same for me) but until then, I will return to a strict-strict diet this week and see if it helps get me back on track!

  2. Christa says:

    Oh Ann! Girl we could talk about this for days. And you have an added struggle of moving to a bigger city with SO MANY delicious new restaurants to try! I would be like a kid in a candy store, wanting to try it ALL! I’m glad my words are relatable to so many. Together we will kick the Battle of the Bulge in the ass!

  3. Meg says:

    I can totally relate! I’ve been fighting 50-75 extra pounds for over twenty years. It’s a vicious cycle of gain-lose-gain. I’m trying to break the cycle too!

  4. Christa says:

    Maybe if we got on a “cycle” (like bike), we could break the cycle. LOL We just gotta keep at it, girl.

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